The Australian Tax Office (ATO), looking to inspire those Australians with multiple superannuation accounts to amalgamate them into the one account has turned to BuzzFeed for advertising purposes. Apparently the American company is much better suited to the role than an Australian company, because of, well that’s not actually know beyond citing various buzzwords. And it’s clearly but a small leap of faith to go from buzzwords to BuzzFeed. Maybe it’s because Australia is great at primary production; but value adding and services are another matter. The intention is to target those younger Australians, aged 18-34, who likely have multiple (and probably lost) superannuation accounts. Owing to the joys of casual employment and the desire to add to, and maybe complete, their nametag collection. This target demographic are supposedly more likely to be receptive to BuzzFeed’s less-than-serious approach to reporting. Apparently this fun will translate into each of them consolidating ...Read More »
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Taxes, Bread, and Circuses The Australian Government is now proposing a tax on bank deposits. Set to be introduced in the May 2015 budget. Intentions, apparently honourable, are that such a tax would be used to ensure sufficient funds are available to be paid out to depositors in the event that the bank (or other Authorised Deposit-taking Institutions, ADIs, which includes banks, building societies, and credit unions) were to become insolvent. That is, the deposit tax (or levy, if preferred), would serve as a bail-out to depositors in the event of a bank collapse. This is in contrast, but little different, to the current system of the Financial Claims Scheme (FCS) where deposits of up to A$250,000 per account-holder per ADI are protected for free. The Australian Government guaranteed deposits seal may be displayed if the institution is covered under the FCS. That the current system is truly free, is ...Read More »
With approximately one week remaining until the NSW state election day on Saturday 28 March 2015, current polling data at the time of writing is favouring a return to power for the Liberal Party with Mike Baird as the leader. Following a similar method used to forecast the 2013 Australian federal election, forecasts were made on a two party preferred (TPP) basis for the 2015 NSW state election. Based on statistically updating past district seats data (including any by-elections) for the Legislative Assembly with polling data current as at 20 March 2015. As shown in the table below, of the 93 district seats, the Australian Labor Party is expected to win 17 seats (including both the Australian Labor Party and the Country Labor Party), the Coalition 70 seats (including both the Liberal Party and the National Party), and the other minor parties and independents collectively six seats. Implying that the Coalition is likely to win ...Read More »
Pushing Against the Glass Ceiling With the 8th March marking International Women’s Day, it’s a time to consider and celebrate all that women have done for the world. Names, but some amongst many, are called to the fore. From science with Marie Curie. To matters of state with Angela Merkel, Condoleezza Rice, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Janet Yellen, Madeleine Albright, Margaret Thatcher, and Queen Elizabeth II. To business and industry with Sara Blakely and Gina Rinehart. To those who’ve done their best to make the word a better place, such as Florence Nightingale and Mother Teresa. To those that entertain us, such as Oprah, Ellen, Meryl Streep, and Julianne Moore. The list of women who have achieved both greatness and public recognition in their respective fields is not a small one by any means. And any such listing must ultimately be incomplete. Equally though, we should also acknowledge those whose stories ...Read More »
A Table for Many A recent report by Australia’s A Current Affair claimed that some so-called restaurants operating within the Menulog website, were providing takeaway meals which were not produced by restaurants under restaurant conditions. Rather, they were produced in homes, by unregistered and unlicensed businesses. Furthermore, where produced by restaurants, some were listing themselves as being multiple different restaurants. Before examining this more, Menulog is part of the newer range of websites and apps seeking to connect the consumer digitally to the restaurants. A change of offering convenience and potential home deliveries of takeaway meals over the more traditional location-bound restaurant experience. Effectively creating a digital marketplace and promotional space for restaurants, restaurateurs, and potential customers. Concerns raised with the A Current Affair report seem more sensational than substantial. Since when did a home-cooked meal necessarily become a bad thing? Furthermore, consider that few if any of the various meals and products ...Read More »
At this point, it’s now a little over the halfway mark in the campaign trail of the Australian federal election 2013. The general gist of things to this point, is that numerous polls are favouring the Coalition (Liberal) over Labor. From the table below, on the basis of the individual electorate seats for the House of Representatives, projections are suggesting that Labor is likely to win 60 seats, the Coalition win 85 seats, and the minor parties and independents collectively win five seats. The results in the table below were calculated on a two party preferred (2PP) basis of the incumbent party from the 2010 Australian federal election, taking into account preferences and their nearest challenger, and statistically updated to reflect the sentiment of current polling results as at 22nd August 2013. Whilst subject to error, like any forecast, especially where there are marginal seats, and with respect to any incumbent that is not ...Read More »
The notion of ethical treatment for workers, and for farm animals, is an admirable one. Yet to many, it often seems but a lofty idea, rather removed from their direct experience. Most only see the final product. The mobile phone. The item of clothing. The prepared cut of meat. For most, that’s all they want to see and think about. Along with an often desired cheap price. Some moves have been made to change this. To increase awareness. Examples include the Rainforest Alliance Certified products such as coffee; and farms that have introduced the sale of produce such as free range chickens and eggs. Apple was heavily criticised in 2012 over the working conditions in its Chinese factories; some claim these are still sweatshops. The company recently issued an unrelated apology signed by Apple’s CEO Tim Cook over its repair policies for Chinese consumers. Again bringing the issue to the fore, was the recent collapse and fire of the factory building near Dhaka, in Bangladesh. Reported ...Read More »
Ask Not for Whom the Poll Falls, it Falls for Thee With the Australian federal election still approximately five months away, it may be time to take stock and consider what may be ahead as the campaign trail starts to ramp up. At the time of writing, the polls for the Julia Gillard led Australian Labor Party (ALP) imply a near 13 percent chance of winning the September 2013 Australian federal election; whilst for the Tony Abbott led Liberal Party (representing the overall Coalition including the Nationals) the implied chance of winning is approximately 87 percent. For up-to-date information on the Australian federal election 2013 polls see BetMetrix. As was considered in the earlier post related to the ALP leadership spill, the dominant strategy for Kevin Rudd or any other potential challenger and would-be alternate leader of the Labor Party, was, and is, simply to remain silent and wait until after the election. This is because, ...Read More »
Bitcoins in Brief Bitcoins are a virtual currency, created approximately four years ago. They are exchanged digitally via encrypted codes over the internet. They represent a decentralised and experimental currency that is not reliant upon governments. To buy Bitcoins, the payments must be irreversible; and exchanges are made anonymously. The supply of Bitcoins is effectively fixed, with people mining them electronically by having their computer decrypt codes. This can only continue until the year 2040, and there is a self-imposed limit of 21 million on the number of Bitcoins that will ever exist. Money and Economics 101 The basics of what defines any money, often takes into account three key features that are to be satisfied. Foremost money must be a medium of exchange, in that it can buy goods and services. Money must be a unit of account, in that it represents a record of what is owed or ...Read More »
She Will Not Rust The Iron Lady, as Margaret Thatcher came to be known, was considered a formidable and often divisive political figure. As Britain’s first, and to date only, female Prime Minister, she was also the United Kingdom’s longest serving PM in the 20th century. From 1979 to 1990, she held the position. Leading with an iron first, and not covering it with a velvet glove, was her style. The lady was not one for turning. Margaret Thatcher passed away on 8th April 2013. Ever the Divisive Politician Love her or hate her, few could ignore her. Even in death, for Margaret Thatcher this continues. Dignitaries and prominent politicians from around the world have offered and paid their respects. It’s often Western custom to not speak ill of the dead. Yet, in perhaps rather un-British tradition, some within the UK have taken to the streets to openly celebrate the death of Margaret Thatcher. The ...Read More »